I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Middle Ground Prison Reform

I try to post a fresh link and reminder about Middle Ground every so often. It's good to consider other perspectives and strategies, and though we have some similar concerns about the prisons and jails, I'm an abolitionist, not a reformer. Anyone interested in what happened with Marcia Powell, some of the history of the ADC, and the position of other prison activists here should visit the website for Middle Ground Prison Reform. They've been around AZ a long time fielding complaints from prisoners and their loved ones, have some good resources on their site, and have been addressing the ADC, the Governor's office, legislators, and the media on the issue of the prisoner abuse in a thoughtful, articulate, professional manner. They're the folks who filed a formal complaint about the cages two years ago, and - as I've referenced elsewhere - Dora Schriro took no action. We agree that she bears a good deal of responsibility for what happened.

As does Janet.

I do hope New York is paying attention, since that's where Schriro's headed to next.

Here's the link to the letter Donna Hamm at Middle Ground wrote Governor Brewer after the abuse report came out last week. It's worth a read. She also gives a synopsis of issues with the prisons arising from Marcia's death that still need to be addressed - these might be helpful. She's more willing to give Director Ryan a chance than I am, but I suspect they know each other better. We don't all sit at the same table. All I want to do at this point is upend it.

That's why we need people like Donna. I count on people in the middle to be there when I push hard from the left, because the process can burn bridges. We do still need a few diplomats. Fortunately, I don't have to be one of them. I even try to keep my distance so as not to reflect badly on them. They are not my co-conspirators; I suspect that I'm seen as something of a loose cannon that blew into town.

Middle Ground has done a lot of important work, and can be a useful resource. If you want a more rounded picture of what's happening here or want to support prison reform in a less radical way, look at what other advocacy strategies are being employed. Not all prison activists are as far left as I am. Check out Middle Ground.

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